The Madman’s Malice
(DISCLAIMER: This is the final draft of a creative writing lesson I am doing for my college course. This is a fiction story and though some of the details can be found in real life, this story is in NO WAY true. The description of Butler and the Mansfield Reformatory strictly come from my imagination though they do exist in real life. The characters in this story are not real though the details of their lives could be found in real life. Requirements for this assignment were no more than three characters, no more than 2,000 words, and protagonist had to be different from myself in two major ways, also the story had to be written in first person, with dialogue. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it! Please leave feedback.)
I can see it now printed in major newspapers across the nation, “Sarah Wesley inside the head of psychopath killer Fredrick Peters!” Chicago Tribune may pick me up after this story. Maybe that is what my editor wants; hell the whole town most likely wants me to leave their sacred town of tradition. Butler is a town full of evangelicals, and Christian tradition. I am one of the few in town who openly lives gay in our small community.
This was a story of a lifetime for a reporter like me. Being bisexual my editor assigned me to cover those stories because he thought being gay made me an expert on the matter. My editor could be a total ass. He actually told me several times over the years that I should find the Lord or be damned to hell for my sin. Maybe hell is where he is sending me today.
Mansfield Reformatory is a maximum security prison built in Romanesque architectural style about thirty minutes north of Butler, Ohio. From the outside an onlooker could mistake this prison for a castle. On the inside, this prison is hell for inmates. Mansfield reformatory houses some of the most violent criminals in our country on one hundred and forty acres. It is one of the toughest prisons that houses murderers serving life sentences or waiting on death row. It’s the Alcatraz of Ohio.
The stench of disinfectant, urine mixed with sweat was almost too much to bear as I followed the guard down the dark corridor towards the area set up for the interview. Anticipation and angst gripped me as I tried to focus on questions I was going to ask instead of the stench and spine-chilling appearance of the run down prison. The guard escorting me was of enormous physique. His muscles protruded his short sleeve shirt and he was over six feet tall. He had the typical military cut where his hair did not pass the nape of his neck. He never spoke as he led me towards the prisons center west wing where things were set up for my interview with the notorious Butler man Fredrick Peters, the local bus driver who kidnapped and murdered Charlene Lewis, a female coworker. The visitor’s area was located in the center west wing on the third floor next to the court rooms.
Charlene, the victim, was in her early twenties fresh out of college. The bus driving job was a temporary one while she waited to get into her field of expertise. She had resumes all over the country. She wanted to be a meteorologist in a big city like New York. She could have had a job at the local station where she did her internship but she never wanted to be a small town girl. The bus depot gave her the pay for college and the flexibility with the schedule while waiting for the big break.
The sound of the keys clanking together echoed through the corridor as the guard took them from his belt to unlock the barred door to the visitor’s room. The crime scene images rushed through my mind. The crime scene was inundated with blood. It was evident that Charlene struggled for her life ferociously. The streak of blood that ran across the wall leading to the door appeared to represent a woman crawling along the wall trying to get to the exit.
Fredrick Peters, a bus driver for ten years, accused and found guilty of first degree murder. Fredrick stood 5’6, light brown hair with a receding hairline and a five o’clock shadow. He lived in his mother’s basement and his mother was a widow. He never had luck with women or maintaining friendships according to all the information I gathered from my research, interviews, and news articles. Looking at him through the barred door chained to the seat he doesn’t seem threatening. Until you look into his eyes.
His eyes were crazed and his demeanor after making eye contact with me made my skin crawl. Goosebumps cover my body and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. The door echoed with a loud creaking as the guard opens it.
“Here you go ma’am. You have one hour with the prisoner. I’ll be right outside if you need anything. I want to advise you that this session is being recorded and will be archived with the prison.” He stepped to the side and I entered. The loud clank of the door closing startled me and I drop my briefcase. Some pictures fall out. I scurry to pick them up. I pause at the final photograph needing put back into the briefcase. This photo always catches my eye to review. I stand and look over it for a moment.
Charlene’s body sprawled out on her back. She is soaked in blood, which turned out to be her own blood according the DNA tests done by the crime lab. Charlene was a blonde but you couldn’t tell from the crime scene photo. Her hair was saturated with blood. It was dark, and most of it dried on her arms, legs, hair and face. Some of her wounds according to the coroner show she was tortured for days before a final blow to her head from a blunt object killed her.
The most memorable thing that sticks out about this photo is the way Charlene has her arm resting across her forehead with her palm turned out. It haunted me because she looked like she was begging for the torture to stop. I wanted to ask Fredrick about this particular photo. I wanted to know if she was begging for him to stop. I didn’t want the usual answer that he is a sociopath and that prevents him from feeling anything. I wanted to hear him tell me in details as to what was going through his mind at this moment in this photograph.
Charlene was missing for a week before her body was found. The authorities were called to a home that sat vacant and was on the market for months. An anonymous caller told 9-1-1 dispatcher that a woman was lying dead inside the house. The police report claims that Charlene was held captive in this empty home for a week tortured before being brutally murdered by Fredrick Peters.
“I’m Sarah Wesley, with the Butler Gazette.” He was chained wearing a dark gray jumper with numbers 74666 printed on the right breast area in black print. The concrete floor had iron loops that came out of the floor where the thick chain was connected. The iron wrist cuffs connected to that thick chain that held him to a chair that also was bolted to the cement floor. His ankles were locked in shackles that were bolted to the chair and left his legs immobile. The smoke bellowed from his mouth. Every time he reached up to his face to take a drag the chains clatter echoed the room we sat in.
“Look at you…such a pretty thang.” His head was tilted and his eyes were sizing me up. I tried not to let my anxiety show.
“I was expecting a blond.” He took a drag from his cigarette and blew the smoke in my direction.
“Sorry to disappoint you Fredrick. You favor blonds huh?” The voice recorder was going but I held my pen above the tablet of paper ready to write down his every word as back up.
He licked his lips and his voice became deeper. “Yes…blonds are entertaining.”
“Charlene was blonde but you couldn’t tell from this picture.” I slid the crime scene photo across the table and placed it in front of him.
He placed one finger on the photo and just sat there for a moment looking at it. His demeanor changed yet again. He seemed happy to have a chance to see her again. He took a long drag from his cigarette and as he exhaled, “She was a piece of art. I worked molding this one.”
His hands were aged and scarred. He sat there with his finger on her image of the picture.
“So tell me why you killed her Fredrick.” I leaned forward placing the tablet and pen on the table. I placed my arms in front of me on the table and stared him down.
“I didn’t kill this beauty…I saved her…I set her free…she is with my master now…” He shoved the picture towards me. He threw his cigarette butt on the floor and leaned back in his chair.
“I set her free! She is where she belongs now.”
I glanced over at the cigarette butt he threw on the floor and looked back at Fredrick.
“She’s dead Fredrick. What do you mean you set her free?” I picked up the pen with my left hand while staring at him waiting for an answer.
“She was an abomination! She was called by my master. I do what I’m told.” He raised his chin slowly and looked up at the ceiling.
“He’s here now…my master. He wants me to save you too. You’re an abomination aren’t you Sarah?” His eyes fell on me and a chill came across my entire body. I tried to not allow my trembling show.
“So your master wants you to kill women?” My voice trembled slightly.
“Not just any women…women who live sinful lives…like you do.” A smirk crossed his face.
“You mean gay? Right” I said with contempt.
“YES.” He answered with an emphasis.
“You are being put to death in four hours Fredrick, how about you tell me how you tortured and killed Charlene…since we know now why you chose her.” I pulled out some news articles from my briefcase. My anxiety now anger.
Fredrick lunged forward toward me. I could see violence in his eyes. I could tell he wanted to cut me from naval to neck.
“These news articles…” I slammed them down on the table in front of him not taking my eyes off of him. “…clearly state you were a devoted religious man. They also tell a story of an awkward man who couldn’t make friends because you were too much of a loser!” This angered him even more. His breathing became heavy and more rapid. His voice seemed to morph into a very deep scratchy one.
“My master goes by the name Lucifer. Sinners…he is preparing for war….” He retrieved a cigarette from his pack of Camel blacks and placed it in his lips.
“I went to church looking for a sinner…that is where the best ones are….sinners…all of them…” He lit his cigarette and took a long drag. “I knew Charlene from driving bus…but I knew she had to be next when I saw her at church that Sunday.”
“So you’re a Satanist Fredrick?” I took a cigarette out of my purse and lit it. I continued to jot down all he said.
He started laughing like a madman. His laughter then turned into mumbling. He began to rock back and forth slowly. His eyes rolled to the back of his head as what seemed to be a smile crossed his face.
“It is time for me to go now…my master wants me.” I heard a crackling and wasn’t sure where it came from but it echoed out into the room before he started to convulse. Foam began falling from his mouth. I yelled for the guard with a screech, “GUARD!”
The story I wrote about the experience was a hit nationwide. News anchors from CNN and NBC picked it up. I was interviewed by many. I was right; the story was my big break.
The sun began rising above the Chicago city skyline as Sarah’s interview came to an end. “You have been watching In Depth with Anthony Hayes. Sarah Wesley has a new book titled, Madman’s Malice”, the anchor held up the hardback book, “We’ll be back after these messages.”